“The Return of the Native: Europe’s Past and the Future of America’s Polarization”: A Clough Distinguished Lecture by Sidney Tarrow

December 08, 2022 | 4:00 - 6:30 PM | Gasson 100 | In-person and Virtual Registration | Zoom Link

The Return of the Native Flyer

For decades, political scientist Sidney Tarrow has been a leading expert on social movements, political parties, and, more broadly, the strategies and dynamics of political contention. He is the Emeritus Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1973. His most recent book is Movements and Parties (Cambridge 2021), a historical and comparative study of the interactions between social movements and political parties during five critical junctures of American history

As a Clough Distinguished Lecturer, Prof. Tarrow will draw on his extensive comparative research into European democratic regimes to speak to the challenges polarization poses to American democracy today. He will also make the case that the postwar experience of European countries can afford valuable insights into the nature of these challenges, and how they might be addressed. Prof. Tarrow’s respondent will be Marshall Ganz, the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing and Civil Society at the Kennedy School of Government, and one of the foremost scholars and practitioners of community organizing.


Time: 4:00-6:30

  • 4:00-5:30: Program
  • 5:30-6:30: Reception

Location: Gasson 100


Sidney Tarrow

Sidney Tarrow

Sidney Tarrow (Clough Distinguished Lecturer) is the Emeritus Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government at Cornell University and Adjunct Professor at the Cornell Law School, where he specializes in social movements, contentious politics and legal mobilization. Before coming to Cornell he taught at Yale and has been visiting professor at the European University Institute in Florence, the Central European University in Budapest and at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. Tarrow's first book was Peasant Communism in Southern Italy (Yale, 1967). His next project was a reconstruction of the Italian protest cycle of the late 1960's, Democracy and Disorder (Oxford, 1989). With Cambridge University Press, he published (with Doug McAdam and Charles Tilly) Dynamics of Contention (2001); The New Transnational Activism (2006); and Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, 3rd edition (2011). His most recent research, Movements and Parties (Cambridge 2021) is a historical and comparative study of the interactions between social movements and parties during five critical junctures of American history.  Tarrow is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been President of the Comparative Politics section of the APSA and of the Conference Group on Italian Politics. He is a founding member of the Contentious Politics series of Cambridge Press and serves on the editorial boards of many scholarly journals both in Europe and the United States.

Marshall Ganz

Marshall Ganz

Marshall Ganz (Respondent) is Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing and Civil Society at the Kennedy School of Government. He first found a “calling” as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1964, and, in the fall of 1965 joined Cesar Chavez in his effort to unionize California farm workers. During 16 years with the United Farm Workers Ganz gained experience in union, political, and community organizing; became Director of Organizing; and was elected to the national executive board on which he served for 8 years. During the 1980s he worked with grassroots groups to develop new organizing programs and designed innovative voter mobilization strategies for local, state, and national electoral campaigns. In 1991, in order to deepen his intellectual understanding of his work, he returned to Harvard College and after a 28-year "leave of absence" completed his undergraduate degree in history and government. He was awarded an MPA by the Kennedy School in 1993 and completed his PhD in sociology in 2000. He has published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Political Science Review, American Prospect, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review and elsewhere. His newest book, Why David Sometimes Wins: Leadership, Organization and Strategy in the California Farm Worker Movement was published in 2009, earning the Michael J. Harrington Book Award of the American Political Science Association. In 2007-8 he was instrumental in the design of the grassroots organization for the 2008 Obama for President campaign. In association with the global Leading Change Network of organizers, researchers and educators he coaches, trains, and advises social, civic, educational, health care, and political groups on organizing, training, and leadership development around the world.

Campus Map and Parking

Parking is available at the nearby Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue Garages.

Boston College is also accessible via public transportation (MBTA B Line - Boston College).

Directions, Maps, and Parking

Visitor Parking Information

Boston College strongly encourages conference participants to receive the COVID-19 vaccination before attending events on campus.